That southern Northern Soul

And the twain shall meet somewhere in between:

I grew up listening to polka, since I grew up in Northeastern Ohio, where there was a large Polish-and-other-Slavic immigrant community. (In fact, until I was in college, I just assumed everywhere had a radio station that played polka and broadcast in Polish for at least part of the day. Well, where I am now there are channels that broadcast Norteño music and broadcast in Spanish part of the day, so that’s similar — a lot of Norteño is polka-influenced.)

And in turn, Norteño, once inflected by other American styles, gave rise to something called Tejano. Did any of this reach the Anglo audience? I give you the Sir Douglas Quintet, practitioners of the Norteño two-step polka beat as filtered through a standard 12-bar blues, who achieved a #13 hit in 1965:

Some background information on Doug Sahm and the band here. Note that despite the lyric, “she,” at least in the video, isn’t much of a mover at all.


  1. fillyjonk »

    21 February 2017 · 5:43 pm

    I am SURE I have heard that song before (it’s familiar), but I never knew the group’s name.

    Is “she” supposed to be St. Joan or something? 1980s “New Wave” videos were not the first to be inscrutably weird, I guess.

  2. CGHill »

    21 February 2017 · 6:08 pm

    I guess you’re supposed to look at that set, lean back and think of England, since the band’s manager (Huey P. Meaux) was busy trying to promote SDQ as the latest wave from the British Invasion, their San Antonio origins notwithstanding.

  3. Counting them down – Zoopraxiscope »

    22 February 2017 · 6:23 pm

    […] Charles Hill posted an instance of musical hybridization. According to iTunes, that particular song is the third-most-frequently-played tune in my […]

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